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Outsourcing for a Department of One

If you're a one-person department in a CPA firm, you may wear many hats while juggling ever-increasing workloads and responsibilities. Staying on top of everything can be challenging without losing focus or feeling burnt out.

That was my situation, but I discovered I didn't have to do it alone. Instead, I was able to leverage outsourced talent to bolster and free up my time. I'd like to share how you can do the same and make room for more strategic priorities to benefit your firm and career.

Benefits of outsourced talent

Let's explore some of the ways that leveraging outsourced talent can benefit your department and firm.

  • Provides leadership experience. Hiring an independent contractor or freelancer allows the delegator to gain valuable leadership experience. Working with outsourced talent requires strong communication, and the delegator must create clear objectives, provide feedback, and keep track of progress to ensure the successful completion of tasks.

  • An impetus to document processes and workflows. Often, our workdays are full of tasks, processes, and workflows that nobody knows about but us. If we were to leave the company, that institutional knowledge would go with us. Hiring an independent contractor forces us to document that knowledge.

  • Frees up capacity for professional development. Outsourcing allows the one-person department to free up capacity for professional development. With the extra time and resources, you can pursue learning opportunities that will help you stay on top of changes or innovations in the profession.

  • Allows you to elevate your role. Outsourcing can be a great way to boost your role within a CPA firm and become more of a reviewer rather than a doer.

  • More time to think about process improvement and automation. Outsourcing talent can help free up the one-person department in a CPA firm to think strategically about process improvement and automation. With more time available, professionals can use this opportunity to analyze current processes and workflows to see what can be improved or streamlined, helping the firm become more efficient and profitable.

  • Reduced cost of employer taxes and benefits. Outsourcing specific tasks and responsibilities can save time and money for the firm. By outsourcing to a professional contractor or freelancer rather than hiring a permanent employee, you can avoid overhead, such as taxes, health insurance, and PTO.

How to begin outsourcing

Now that you know the benefits that outsourcing can bring to your department of one, let's cover how to get started and what to look for.

  1. Identify the tasks you want to outsource. Outsourcing is a great option when you don't have enough work for a full-time employee, and the job you want to outsource is task-oriented. You shouldn't expect a freelancer or independent contractor to be a jack-of-all-trades that steps in wherever needed. Instead, identify specific tasks you want them to handle. This will help both sides, as you'll be better prepared to set expectations.

  2. Look for someone with some experience in the field. Hiring someone with relevant experience is generally beneficial because they understand the area and may have specialized skills useful for the task. They may even be able to provide creative solutions to a problem that someone without experience in the field would not think of. Furthermore, an experienced person can help increase efficiency and productivity by bringing new processes and ideas.

  3. Provide flexibility on both ends. Flexibility is essential when working with outsourced talent, as it allows both the delegator and contractor to work within their schedules and ensure that tasks are completed on time. When delegating tasks to an independent contractor or freelancer, ensure they have autonomy in where, when and how they complete the work. The outcome is more important than the specific steps they take to get there.

  4. Build a good working relationship. When hiring an independent contractor, knowing the person before bringing them on to the project is beneficial because you can assess their skills and experience and gauge whether they fit the job. If you don't know them before you hire them, take some time to build that relationship early on. This is especially important if you're outsourcing long-term projects, as it helps foster collaboration and understanding.

  5. Delegate in phases. Start with one or two tasks and build from there. Doing this allows you to better understand how the other person works, what they can do, and if they're a good fit for the organization. It also lets the freelancer or contractor gain confidence in their work and understand your expectations. By delegating in phases, you can ensure you get the best results from your outsourced talent.

When I first started outsourcing some of my tasks, I was hesitant. After all, these were tasks that I enjoyed doing, and I had become quite comfortable with managing myself. However, I soon realized that delegating specific responsibilities to someone else could free up my time to focus on more strategic, higher-level tasks.

If you're struggling with the workload of a department of one, outsourcing is worth considering. It can help you save money, increase productivity and free up your time to focus on more strategic initiatives. Following the tips outlined here, you can build a successful outsourcing program and reap the benefits of an extended team.


Do you want to connect with other Operational Leaders in the accounting profession to become a more confident leader?

The Boomer Operations Circle is a peer group of Operational Leaders from successful and growing firms who work together to develop the best business strategies, plans and procedures. Apply now to start building valuable long-term relationships with others who are navigating the same challenges in shaping their firms for the future.


As Financial Operations for Boomer Consulting, Inc., Jenna is passionate about the administrative side of business –both internally and externally.Her primary focus is on the company’s payroll, human resources, and accounting.

Before joining Boomer Consulting, a Solutions Advisor in 2018, Jenna owned a home health agency for three and a half years.


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